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Postnatal Recovery

Welcome to motherhood, what an adventure... and probably nothing like what you expected!

Growing a baby and giving birth are hard work for the body. The postnatal period is known as the fourth trimester and is an intimate time of healing and transition for new mothers. Postnatal care is essential for your health and wellbeing as you adjust to new rhythms, heal and recover from birth and bond with your baby.  


During the initial postnatal 6 weeks after birth your body undergoes huge hormonal shifts as it looses a placenta, experiences a sharp decline in progesterone, an increase in prolactin and oxytocin as milk production and bonding with baby kicks in.  

These hormonal shifts, combined with tiredness and sleep deprivation can have effects on emotional and mental health and wellbeing. 

Essential maternal postpartum care includes:

  • skin to skin with mama and baby

  • nutritious meals

  • soft bowel motions

  • sleep and rest

  • emotional support

  • practical support such as cooking, cleaning and supporting mama while she rests, heals and recovers.

  • baby feeding support - whether breast, pumping, formula or donor milk.

It's essential to remember that it takes 9 months to grow a baby, and all the energy and nutrients for growth come from nutrients and energy you supply as you feed, warm, breathe for and eliminate waste for your growing baby. For breast feeding mothers, the physical provision of nutrients can continue for 2 years after birth or beyond. 


With these huge bodily demands on pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, it is unrealistic to expect new mothers to experience rapid reversal of body changes energy, nutrient stores and physical strength. It is essential to provide an environment where her mind and body can replenish and recover during those initial few weeks to months after giving birth, and through that first year of baby's life. 

The biological, psychological and emotional changes that continue during the first postpartum year and beyond is called matrescence.



Matrescence is the developmental passage where a woman transitions through pre-conception, pregnancy and birth, surrogacy or adoption, to the postnatal period and beyond. It is the adjustment of a woman to parenthood and encompasses multiple dimensions including: bio-psycho-social-political-spiritual.


According to matrescence researcher Aurélie Athan, it can be likened to the developmental push of adolescence. However, the exact length of matrescence is individual, recurs with each child, and may arguably last a lifetime.

Besides the intense changes to your body, hormones and biology, mothers experience changes to their identity, beliefs, independence, purpose. Additionally many mothers experience the challenges of ambivalence, the mental load/divided mind, dependence, lack of control, disappointment, relationships and the motherhood penalty.

Embracing Matrescence

1. Accept that this is a new phase of life: It is a time of change and growth, so it's important to acknowledge that things will be different from now on.

2. Seek out support: Whether it's from friends, family, or a professional, make sure you have people to lean on during this transition.

3. Be gentle with yourself: This is a time of adjustment and learning, so be flexible and cut yourself some slack if things don't go perfectly. It took you 9 months to grow this baby. It may take longer than you think to find your new normal again.

4. Celebrate your unique experience: Every person's matrescence journey is unique, so embrace whatever path you're on.

Baby's Grasp

Postnatal Depletion

What is postnatal Depletion

Postnatal depletion is the term used to describe the postnatal condition prior to restoration of nutrition, hormonal balance, pelvic floor and core stability, fitness levels and circadian sleep cycles after childbirth. It occurs concurrently with the emotional and psychological process of matrescence or the process of adapting to motherhood. 

Many women naturally transition through this uneventfully, especially if depletion is mild and they have support, but others appreciate holistic care to support replenishment of nutrition and restrengthening the body, returning to physical activity and regaining energy. Sometimes depletion is only evident after subsequent pregnancies, or recognised beyond the first year of life as symptoms of depletion continue or fail to improve.

Most postnatal care is focused on the wellbeing, feeding and growth of baby, but at Ōtepoti Integrative Health we support mamas to thrive too. 


How we can help with
postnatal recovery?

Feeding your Baby

An integrative approach to feeding your baby can include:
  • breast feeding support
  • probiotics
  • integrative support for lactation induction for birthing or non-birthing parent
  • integrative support for mastitis.

Postnatal Depression/Anxiety

An integrative approach to postnatal depression or anxiety is focused around gentle restoration and recovery principles including: 
  • body identical hormones,
  • nutrient dense foods,
  • restoring sleep and energy
  • mindful + wellbeing practices
  • progressive exercise
  • reconnecting with your partner/libido
  • support adapting to motherhood 

Post-natal Depletion 

Many women experience post-natal depletion, which can become particularly pronounced with subsequent pregnancies. You can benefit from gentle personalised integrative postnatal recovery support to which can include:
  • nutrient dense foods,
  • restoring sleep and energy
  • mindful + wellbeing practices
  • progressive exercise
  • reconnecting with your partner/libido.
  • body identical hormones if indicated
  • support adapting to motherhood
Sleeping Baby

We would love to support you and your baby. 

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